I elect that bull elk in the Snake River.

I elect that raven in Canyonlands National Park.

I elect autumn moonlight on metal roofs.

I elect the strand of barbed wire that fell from the post and is now woven into the tall brown grass.

I elect the tall brown grass.

I elect my neighbors’ cat — the neighbors who are always cursing one another and screaming hateful things — because every morning he sits with me on the fire escape and watches the sunrise without meowing.

I elect the feeling of boots laced tight.

I elect potatoes cooked however.

I elect Vermont’s faded, sagging, leaning, crooked-in-the-best-sense-of-the-word barns.

I elect rain improvising songs on a busted junkyard piano.

I elect the ghost of my grandfather Dean, because the man never wanted to be anything but a farmer, or so says my grandmother Betty.

I elect my grandmother Betty, because at ninety-five she takes the long view.

I elect the hungry mouse who stole my snack but did so honestly, out in the open.

I elect the thump-thump-thump of many wagging tails.

I elect the dream I once had of a monkey riding a flying goat, a dream in which I understood intuitively, instantly, that a monkey riding a flying goat foretold the healing of all wounds.

I elect the tears on my cheeks when I woke up.

I elect crushed mint.

I elect littered napkins folded together by the wind and placed, as if by magic, at the base of a street-corner trash can.

I elect a climb of Precarious Peak that made me, and will forever keep me, humble as a pebble.

I elect that which can’t be written in, that which will guide us forward, ever forward, regardless of who lives in some white house.